almond-orange cupcakes with citrus cream cheese frosting

These cupcakes are very almondy. Almond is the predominant flavor but you catch the citrus as well, especially in the frosting. These cupcakes are great for the winter season and pair well with an Italian themed dinner. I made about 100 mini of these cupcakes along with 100 mini chocolate with salted caramel cream cheese frosting for an event. Both were a hit. The second is my go-to recipe for parties – always a crowd-pleaser.

If you follow Cupcakeblog on Facebook, you know that I have been promising the recipe for Honey Bourbon cupcakes. Well, the last batch still weren’t quite right! I will be testing these out again very soon and hope to have a successful recipe to post this month. I might tweak it to fit this competition. I think I can’t resist entering this one, it’s just too up my alley.

Almond Orange Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

7 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
zest of one half an orange

1. Beat almond paste at low speed to loosen up, about 30 seconds.
2. Gradually add sugar while beating at low speed.
3. Continue to beat at low speed for 1 minute or so.
4. Add the ricotta and beat to combine.
5. While beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat.
6. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, beat at medium for about 2 minutes until fluffy.
7. Crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork.
8. At low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit.
9. Beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes.
10. Measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine.
11. With a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined.
12. Mix in orange juice and zest.
13. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, fill about 1/2 inch from the top (3/4 full).
14. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes are moist and don’t rise too much so you can fill the papers pretty full. They also stay flat if you like that.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
1 stick butter
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus more to taste
zest of one half an orange
zest of one half a lemon

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for a couple of hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the bowl, add the juice and zest, and beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar and/or orange juice until you get to the consistency, flavor, and sweetness you like.

Note: You can also add a little natural orange extract if you want to pump up the orange flavor.

1. Frost cupcakes.
2. Top with an almond or candied orange peel.

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